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Author Topic: The Dozy Embrace  (Read 4334 times)

Offline BJ

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Re: The Dozy Embrace
« Reply #75 on: January 29, 2017, 10:50:50 PM »
Hi there.

So, i watched this movie now 11 years after it's release and it totally "grabbed hold of me" for one week now. Re-viewing the whole or crucial parts of it, reading up on the internet, watching interviews and making offs, feeling the urgent need to join a "support group" in order to TALK this over, otherwise i "can hardly stand it"!!!  ??? :)

Regarding the dozy embrace - which deserves its encyclopedia entry i guess... When i was watching the movie for the first time i knew that Ennis and Jack are supposed to fall in love with each other, but i was not able to see the clues as to WHY it actually happened. I could not relate to the characters and could not explain to myself why they ended up being in love. These were two young men undoubtedly spending good time together and liking each other, but why did they end up going past the conventional friendship?

There were some clues for Ennis' part that he was having a quite lonely life where first his parents died and then his brother and sister left to have their own lives and he ended up alone, not much talking to any living being for a whole year(!).. And then his actions and face during second tent encounter - it all made sense why he was needing Jack so badly. But as for Jack - i did not have any explanation... Especially because it was him who actually took Ennis' hand (literally! :)) and led the way to the next "level"...

For me it happened the first time when the dozy embrace was shown that i finally got the FIRST hint to Jacks feelings, though it was not completed yet - it went on with Jack's room at the Twist ranch. When that room was shown i immediately asked myself why there is a chair near the window. Because usually i would find it odd for a boy sitting next to a window - dreaming of something. That would be usually a "girl's" thing for me. So, i imagined Jack playing with that cowboy figure at the window ledge, i could imagine him scribble something on that window frame or doodle some cowboy, while the window open and wind blowing... That all helped me to understand how deeply lonely Jack was himself, too.

And finally the short story provides two more puzzle pieces which round it all up but were not conveyed by movie. "The window looked down on the gravel road stretching south and it occurred to him that for his growing-up years that was the only road Jack knew." - just supports the sentiment of longing, loneliness and sadness. In addition, the left out episode about Jack's own childhood traumatic encounter with his father completes the picture.

So, after figuring out why Ennis and Jack fell for each other i still had the problem with understanding why they would end up in having sex and why Jack was so passionate about Ennis... After lots of thinking and imagining i came to think that it was the dozy embrace which ultimately pushed Jack over the edge. I like to think that this embrace was some when close to (before) the FNIT. I imagine it was sort of a "shock" for Jack to be hugged by Ennis in such loving way and this moment gave Jack the idea they could go further. I think as much as Jack was the more talkative and frank of them two, he would still not dare to get THIS physically close to Ennis at that stage of their friendship. Sure, for Ennis it was a very untypical thing to do - to hug somebody and to HUMM... But i think it just shows how far he opened to Jack and how comfortable he felt around him, how much he was already "flying". Somebody said here Ennis probably never thought about the situtations he was in, but just felt them. Therefore, probably he was feeling like hugging and humming at that second which just sealed their faith.

Regarding that argument about Jack's knowledge about Ennis not wanting to know that he was holding Jack, i would say it came later on.. But, really, i find it difficult to believe that Ennis was thinking / feeling this at that second.... It's well stated in the short story, but I don't know...

And by the way, i don't think either of them was gay or even bi-sexual. For me the short story says it all: "shared and sexless hunger". I don't think sex was the most important thing between them. They just loved and longed for each other as human beings. I love the look of Jack when he says "Me neither" - it's like he's saying "What are you talking about? Who said anything about being "queer"? I just want to be with YOU."

Offline Ministering angel

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Re: The Dozy Embrace
« Reply #76 on: March 12, 2017, 12:42:33 AM »
Hey there, BJ!

It seems your Dozy Embrace post got missed in all the other welcoming posts. I'm pleased you've read the short story because it confirms what you say, that the DE was what brought Jack back year after year. That was the thing which told Jack there was more to it than sex.

I've always felt that the DE represented the giving and taking of love in a way they could both relate to. In Jack's case he felt he was receiving the love his father never gave him, and in Ennis's case he was effectively acting the way his own mother had acted towards him. Years ago, I would have had the patience and the passion to justify my statements with quotes and diagrams and what-have-you but not so much now.

I beg to differ on their sexuality (another aspect which has been thrashed out endlessly on these threads). I think they were gay. The sexless hunger (to me) indicates the depths of longing and need they both had, but it doesn't mean the sex was without meaning. I'm pretty darned certain that while they were functionally bisexual they were both simply gay.

Anyway, I look forward to more posts from you.

Offline BJ

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Re: The Dozy Embrace
« Reply #77 on: March 21, 2017, 10:05:54 PM »
Hey Ministering angel!

Thanks a lot for your replies to me :)

I think Ennis touched something so deep in Jack's heart by that embrace that nobody will be ever able to do that again - neither a man nor a woman. Does it make Jack gay? Do we need to categorize this in the first place?

And i think Ennis experienced with Jack something he could never feel with anybody else - reciprocal understanding, acceptance, tenderness, caring - it's like their hearts literally became one. Ennis says himself that he had never thought of having sex with any other guy and that he "helped himself" a thousand times thinking of Jack. Does it make Ennis gay? Do we need to categorize this in the first place?

It's like Heath Ledger said himself when being asked about whether kissing a man made him feel uncomfortable or even frightend - he said at some point he realized that he is just kissing an another human being and that there cannot be anything wrong about it. This is exactly the spirit of the movie by the way. Does it make Heath gay? Do we need to categorize this in the first place?

For me the movie is about the universality of love, not about some labels or people categories. Who cares about that?...
Ennis and Jack were so innocent and pure in their love, two little boys (at their hearts), lost, having only themselves to comfort each other, trapped by the circumstances. It's so sad...

Sorry, i think we are coming off topic here...

Offline BJ

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Re: The Dozy Embrace
« Reply #78 on: June 22, 2017, 01:17:42 AM »
I hope nobody will mind me cross-posting. I posted this on Better Most, but was advised that there are more active users here instead. So, i'll post this here, too.

This is in reference to my statement that i think DE happened before FNIT. It struck me that Ennis is riding (on a horse) away from Jack three times in the move. I noticed that while Ennis is riding off slowly and relaxed at the first one (when they switch the tasks and Ennis goes off to the sheep), he is literally fleeing from Jack at the second and third occasions. I think we do know why he is galloping away in the second scene. Because that's right after FNIT, Ennis totally confused and he cannot face Jack at all.
Then, can we draw some similar conclusion for the third ride-off? I would put it this way to line it up with my above theory:

========
Ennis considers Jack his dearest friend, he loves him to pieces already, just for the fact that he can be himself around Jack without fear or shame. Ennis hugs Jack, hums, says "i got a go" and leaves. He just had done something he never did before - hugging a man and humming! He is unsure whether it is alright, whether he made himself too vulnerable by revealing a tender side of him and by sharing some childhood memory. He is maybe a bit embarrassed of himself - like it was at the "i ain't yet had the opportunity". He doesn't dare to check upon Jack's reaction, so he quickly leaves the spot.
========

So, due to Ennis' embarrassed ride off i think they were not physically close yet.

Now feel free to tell me how crazy i am to come up with something like this!  :laugh:

Offline Rosestem

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Re: The Dozy Embrace
« Reply #79 on: June 24, 2017, 08:43:53 PM »
Hi BJ,

This makes sense to me, but I'm going to make a case for it using only the short story only, where there is no SNIT. To quote:

"Later, that dozy embrace solidified in his memory as the single moment of artless, charmed happiness in their separate and difficult lives. Nothing marred it, even the knowledge that Ennis would not then embrace him face to face because he did not want to see nor feel that it was Jack he held."

There are exhaustive arguments about whether Annie Proulx meant that Ennis and Jack never faced each other during sex on the mountain. That makes reunion scene even more important, because they're kissing for the first time.

Your proposal would suggest:

1) First, they got to know each other, having high times around the campfire, respecting each other's opinions. Such great times, in fact, that Ennis felt like he could paw the white out of the moon.

2) At some point during those weeks of getting to know each other, one evening when Ennis was going back to the sheep, he saw Jack dozing on his feet, and came up and hugged him from behind. It was an artless, charmed, sexless gesture, one of deep spirituality and feeling. Ennis hummed and murmured some words from his childhood, and then rode off.

3) Later, one night when they were both drunk, Jack called Ennis into the tent because Ennis was snoring so loudly. A little later, he grabbed Ennis's hand and placed it on his erect cock. Ennis drew back, but soon was going further than what Jack probably expected. They were already extremely close, having shared so many memories and the dozy embrace. Maybe Ennis wasn't so shocked by Jack's hand.

4) They kept going with the sex for the rest of the summer -- quick, rough, laughing and snorting, no lack of noises, but saying not a goddamn word except once. It makes sense to me that they DID face each other during those times because NOT to would be so awkward and less fun than how Annie describes the sex.

5) The reunion scene is still extremely important because Ennis is so excited to see Jack that he loses his composure and kisses him in public. It's also crucial to the plot for obvious reasons.

This interpretation of event would also fit into the movie where there is a SNIT.

What do you think?


Offline BJ

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Re: The Dozy Embrace
« Reply #80 on: June 25, 2017, 09:55:06 PM »
Hey Rosestem!

Thanks a lot for joining in, i'm really happy to have somebody to talk to  :D

Regarding your post - yes, yes, yes, that's all exactly how i picture it!
3) Later, one night when they were both drunk, Jack called Ennis into the tent because Ennis was snoring so loudly. A little later, he grabbed Ennis's hand and placed it on his erect cock. Ennis drew back, but soon was going further than what Jack probably expected. They were already extremely close, having shared so many memories and the dozy embrace. Maybe Ennis wasn't so shocked by Jack's hand.
Yes!

4) They kept going with the sex for the rest of the summer -- quick, rough, laughing and snorting, no lack of noises, but saying not a goddamn word except once. It makes sense to me that they DID face each other during those times because NOT to would be so awkward and less fun than how Annie describes the sex.
It was suggested by some users that E&J never faced when being physically close on the mountain. It is suggested by the short story's DE section that Ennis did not want to face Jack. It was mentioned by some users that the reunion kiss is probably their very first kiss since it is described in such a detail and it seems to be a big deal in the short story. In Annie Proulx's BBM operetta it is confirmed that E&J never kissed on the mountain.

I personally am very conflicted / confused on this issue. On the one hand we have the short story - a text with little emotion in it. On the other hand we have the movie - with LOTS of emotions shown and acted by Heath and Jake. In a way Heath and Jake give the characters a soul and what they show sometimes does not really match the story's highly ambiguous suggestions. Since Annie's text is not really explicit, we don't know what kind of relationship she imagined for E&J on the mountain. Does she really suggest that they never faced each other, never kissed? If yes, then it does not tally with what i see in the movie (apart from SNIT!). In the movie Ennis and Jack both are shown as very tender and caring men. For example, when Ennis warns Jack of the horse with low startle point - he gives a damn. Even though Jack is still quite a stranger, Ennis just can't help it as to care. Ennis further cares about Jack's food wishes ("no more beans") and i don't think this is any courting there. When Ennis comes back to the camp with bloodied head, Jack is worried and takes care of him. After elk shooting they touch each other alright. When setting up second camp Ennis comes over to touch Jack's shoulder as he carries a log. Even Jack's invitation to Ennis to sleep in the tent is not in order to get into his pants - i don't think so - but because he is worrying sick about Ennis freezing and cannot sleep because of his shivering. Then Ennis' constant caressing of things with his thumb (Jack's coat, Alma's cheek, postcard (twice)) - sure, it's all Heath's doing and probably his own character blending into the movie, but i just can't think of Ennis otherwise than a really sweet, tender man. And same goes for Jake's Jack. "Ministering angel" actually says it all. Although he is quite talkative, deep down he is actually pretty shy. This he tries to mask by cockiness. He is shy when meeting Ennis at Aguirre's trailer, when taking care of Ennis' bruise (awkward), when initializing FNIT (awkward), when saying that weak "all right" after Ennis' "i don't need your money", when trying to cheer Ennis up when they have to leave the mountain, when not knowing what to say to make Ennis stay at their parting, always the one waiting for the mating call, not able to stand up to LD, so insecure at reunion hug, unsure whether he should tell Ennis how he had redlined the way, pressing his jaws, gathering his courage before making the cow and calf operation suggestion, same gathering of courage before telling Ennis how much he misses him.

All of this is the way i see it. They are not some two emotionless cold as stone guys who only care about high-altitude f*s. They love, they care. Have you seen that hand holding in FNIT? Ennis soothing Jack as he punches the ground? I find it so hard to believe these two people with their bond so tender had absolutely no face to face contact on the mountain... If i imagine their time on the mountain like this i get really angry because it hurts so much. Maybe that's the hard reality and i just want to live in my own constructed fairy tale story? But with Heath's Ennis and Jake's Jack it just feels SO unnatural, so out of character... I know Ennis had his fears and shames. For me it would be understandable that he still has them upon the dozy embrace. Ennis could brush them off as a simple hug of a friend. He is not queer, he is not engaging in anything sexual with Jack, but he is insecure nevertheless, whether he has not gone too far towards queer with the embrace.

I think for Ennis it was just a loving hug. Yes, he loved Jack already, but it was still a tiny quiet feeling and he could not admit it to himself due to his fears. So, for him it was just a hug, he could not allow himself to go any further than that. But for Jack - it was ground-breaking. His heart was touched in a way it was never before and the physical proximity of the embrace gave him the idea of more being possible. Jack fell for Ennis for good at the dozy embrace. Point of no return there for him. I don't think Jack would have ever ventured SNIT without the DE, he was too shy for that...

And i firmly believe that first came the love and then came the sex. Just me being a hopeless romantic i guess! (Hunh, that even rhymes! lol)

Offline Ministering angel

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Re: The Dozy Embrace
« Reply #81 on: July 13, 2017, 08:26:54 PM »
Ah, that accursed opera libretto  :D In that, Annie Proulx places the DE on the last night. In fact, the post-FNIT stuff consists of Aguirre spying as he rides up to tell them to bring the sheep down, and seeing the DE rather than the sex of the short story and film. Ennis and Jack are singing about the lack of face-to-face contact and Ennis is showing his deeply conflicted feelings. But on the bright side, after Aguirre leaves, Ennis is persuaded not to ride up to the sheep for one last night. Instead he spends it with Jack in the tent then they argue the next day. FWIW. But still no kiss.